Lord Berke­ley calls for HS2 down­grade to save money

Rail (UK) - - News -

For­mer Rail Freight Group Chair­man Lord Berke­ley has called on Sec­re­tary of State for Trans­port Chris Grayling to down­grade the scope of HS2, in a bid to cut costs.

Berke­ley says that to fit within the £32 bil­lion budget for Phases 1 and 2a, max­i­mum speed should be re­duced to 320kph (200mph), which would save £20bn and bring the cost down to £40bn. Sav­ings could be made on in­fra­struc­ture such as align­ment, track de­sign and tun­nel di­am­e­ters.

He ar­gues that the sec­tion from Old Oak Com­mon to Eus­ton could be omit­ted if Phase 2b is can­celled, and up­grades made on the likes of the Mid­land and East Coast Main Lines, which would save an es­ti­mated £8bn.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the junc­tion from the north end of Phase 1 at Hansacre could be axed, given that Phases 1 and 2a are due to open at the same time, sav­ing £2bn. Plus, if re­gional plans to quadru­ple the Coven­tryBirm­ing­ham part of the West Coast Main Line are adopted, he says the com­plete Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional-Birm­ing­ham leg could also be dropped.

Berke­ley says the Govern­ment can choose to pro­vide ex­tra fund­ing if needed, re­duce its scope, or can­cel HS2 and re­di­rect funds into up­grad­ing the ex­ist­ing rail net­work.

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